Healthy Pregnancy at 35 to 40
If you are pregnant at 35 or older—or thinking of becoming pregnant—there is no reason not to get excited. You are in good company, as many women are delaying pregnancy until after 30. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of babies born to women over 35 was nine times higher in the past decade than it was in the 1970s. Though not peak fertility years biologically, there is no reason to believe you will not conceive or have a healthy baby. There are some considerations to take, as you should with any pregnancy, to bolster your health and wellbeing.
Have a pre-pregnancy consultation with your health care provider
It is important to get an overall picture of your health prior to getting pregnant. You can also use this time to ask any questions you may have about conception, pregnancy, or fertility treatment options. “While it’s true there are some risks to moms past their mid-30s, there’s no reason to panic,” says Salena Zanotti, MD, an OB/Gyn at Cleveland Clinic. “There’s nothing magical about the number 35 … your health before and during pregnancy is more important than your age.”
Make healthy lifestyle choices
Physical movement and healthy eating, along with saying no to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and any illicit drugs, are key to any healthy pregnancy. Regular activity and exercise, such as prenatal yoga & fitness, can keep you strong throughout your pregnancy, keeping your heart healthy and giving you more stamina for delivery. Eating balanced, nutritious meals before and during pregnancy is healthy for you and your baby, especially if they are rich in nutrients such as folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin D.
Conceive with confidence
First, it may take you longer to conceive. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, which they lose over time, making fertilization a bit less likely in any given month. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately one in four women in their twenties to early thirties will get pregnant in each menstrual cycle, and by 40, it’s approximately one in 10. As far as infertility is concerned, this is not considered an issue until you have been trying to conceive regularly for a year unsuccessfully.
Know the risks
There are slightly higher risks for developing some conditions when you are pregnant after 35. These include pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, usually characterized by high blood pressure, and gestational diabetes, which can elevate risks for mother and baby. Pregnant women over thirty-five are also more likely to have multiple pregnancies (twins), a chromosomal abnormality (Down Syndrome is the most common), or a smaller baby with low birth weight, for reasons that are not always clear. But maintaining regular visits with your doctor or health care provider and making healthy choices reduce these risks.
A geriatric pregnancy?!
Yes, the language seems very outdated, but having an “advanced maternal age” does not mean you cannot have a healthy, happy pregnancy. Staying active, eating a variety of nutritious foods, avoiding risky substances, and scheduling regular appointments with your doctor are all ways to help ensure you lower your risk for complications. Motherhood Center offers in-person and virtual Pregnancy 101 and Prenatal Nutrition courses, along with many other pregnancy classes to help guide you through this exciting time of growing your family.
Healthy Pregnancy at 35 to 40
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